Possibility of another co-teaching NIGHTMARE

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Mr.Literature, Aug 1, 2015.

  1. Mr.Literature

    Mr.Literature Companion

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    Aug 1, 2015

    Last year was my first year teaching. I came in mid-year and into one of the most challenging group of kids the school had. That being said, I was going to be placed into a co-teaching classroom. I was looking forward to this because I figured I would have someone who knew what they were doing and it would be nice to not feel alone and completely lost. Well, that positivity did little to make the situation better.

    This woman turned into a bully. I am a very easy-going guy and I don't like to tell people what to do. This woman would constantly be on her cell-phone, told me she was making purchases on Amazon (while I was giving direct instruction) on her school computer, would constantly leave the classroom whenever she wanted. Now, here's the thing. I came in with the idea that we would do things 50/50. And I asked how we would work out doing lesson plans and whatnot. She told me, "you're the core teacher, you do them. I don't do that." And I was fine with this! I figured that's how things were. So I started doing them on my own. She then went to the principal (who she was high school friends with) and told him that I was controlling and she was extremely unhappy. She would also tell the kids that I was controlling.

    I was NEVER controlling. I just knew her personality and didn't want to tell her "okay, now go up and teach the lesson!" I told her I loved it when she would take over because the kids enjoyed it and it gave me a break. But she would rarely do that. I wanted her to be comfortable with the content and not feel thrown to the wolves.

    One day to fix the situation, I told her (Again, trying to fix the situation) "I want this to be a great situation for both of us and I want us both to be really happy, so before I make these lesson plans, what would you like to do for next week? What activities, etc. would you be interested in working on with the kids?" Her response? "I don't know! I don't know the standards." In a really mean way.

    When we moved into a new classroom, she wanted all the kids' desks away from her desk because she had "sensitive information" as the ESE teacher that she didn't want them near. And I get this, I truly do. Except the kids were all bunched up by my desk (which did NOT bother me), and because of this they were angled far away from the whiteboard so many of them could barely see it and many of them had vision problems.

    I asked to meet with administration so we could all have a sit-down and get things in order because I truly wanted things to improve. Well, administration decided that sitting down together was not the right thing to do and this was my situation through the end of the year. I am now out of this school and into a much better situation.

    But I am extremely scared that I will find myself in a similar situation this year if I'm placed with a co-teacher. Does anyone have ANY suggestions for what I can do to prevent situations like this?
     
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  3. SleekTeach

    SleekTeach Comrade

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    Aug 1, 2015

    This year you won't come in mid year. You just need to lay your expectations out the table ASAP.
     
  4. applecore

    applecore Devotee

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    Aug 2, 2015

    It sounds like you were extremely professional in all aspects, and I think that is so awesome and very supportive for you as a growing professional.

    My team collaborates at a set time each week for 45 minutes with a set agenda, and we also have lunch one day a week on a set day. Since you and your co-teacher are a team, I highly recommend spending this time together.

    I've never co-taught before, but I wonder if documenting the times and days on your lesson plans when you teach and when she teaches to help with knowing when someone's turn to take on a subject. That way you know you'll be able to leave the room to make copies, prep lessons, or just take a break, so she can do the same. And maybe she'll feel like she has time to surf the internet or find amazing deals on Amazon during a time she's not required to be teaching or prepping. I know after teaching on my own for the past 6 years, a good coffee break with the lights turned off, classical music, and 10 minutes to surf Amazon or Pinterest for mindless activity is a great boost of energy for me. :)


    Best wishes on a fresh start of a school year!
     
  5. Curiouscat

    Curiouscat Comrade

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    Aug 2, 2015

    For years I co-taught with someone I just clicked with instantly. Unfortunately, she left for a better job. While I was waiting for a new person to be hired I sat down and typed up everything that had worked well in the prior experience. I included my expectations and beliefs as well. This was an amazing tool for the new person because she could read it and refer back to it as needed. It also provided both of us with some good conversation starters as we started to work together. I believe it made me a better teacher as well!
     
  6. jw12

    jw12 Rookie

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    Aug 2, 2015

    I've been teachings for 3 years, and have co-taught every year. While I've been lucky in that the two Special Ed teachers I've co-taught with have been awesome, I have heard horror stories from others.

    My co-teachers have never actually 'taught' in class, and I've always been the one to complete the lesson plans, so that isn't unusual. However, my co-teachers have always been there to provide additional support for the students who need it. What is unusual is the fact that your co-teacher went behind your back and lied about you. That's unprofessional and totally unacceptable.

    My suggestion is to document every time she isn't doing her job. Inform the administration and your union rep about the situation. Do you have a department coordinator/chair? If so, tell that person. If the situation doesn't improve this year, or you are stonewalled by the admin or union, you may want to seriously consider finding another position. It sounds like you are an excellent teacher, and you shouldn't have to spend your time dealing with the child-like actions of an adult while trying to enlighten young minds.

    Good luck!!
     
  7. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Aug 2, 2015

    You seem to have experienced "two heads are better than one" approach to teaching without any examination of the heads.

    Merely "placing" someone in a a co-teaching situation is a gamble that may pay off but can also be a disaster. Schools and staffs which are generally successful with co-teaching conduct interviews, collect autobiographies/interest inventories and other background-personality information. In addition some schools conduct collegial collaboration training which include observation techniques, data collection and planning skills. All this to match teachers so problems you experienced are far less likely.
     
  8. Mr.Literature

    Mr.Literature Companion

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    Aug 2, 2015

    I'd like to thank everyone for their replies. I definitely do agree that this year if I do end up with a co-teacher I will tell this person what I really enjoyed and what worked, but I will tell them what didn't work for me. I will ask them the same question then, what they enjoyed and what didn't really work for them so we can get on the same page.

    And to reply to the quote above me and I think someone else mentioned something along the same lines about doing lessons as the core teacher. I was 210% fine with making lesson plans and doing the lesson plans. She was the one saying that I was a controlling guy who didn't let her do anything. Which is why I was trying to get her involved.

    That being said, she NEVER did interventions on the kids. She never pulled them to modify my lessons. She would simply print out things from Readworks.org and test them.

    And when she would "pull" the kids. She would take them to a computer lab to get them to do makeup stuff that they had AMPLE time to do on a specific day of the week. She would just want to get out of the class.

    And I did make my mentor aware of the situation, my reading coaches SAW first-hand the situation, and so there was nothing else I could do.
     

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